Are you planning your trip to Saudi Arabia and wondering what is the best way to stay connected? Whether you are just a tourist or going for Hajj or Umrah this is your complete guide for finding the best sim card for traveling to Saudi Arabia in 2024.

This guide shows you a comparison of the best prepaid sim cards for tourists and the best e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia, up to date prices as per June 2024, the best 4G/5G network across the country, where to buy a sim card, info about international sim cards, a vlog with all my experience buying a sim card in Saudi Arabia and everything else you need to know before buying a prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia only opened up its borders to tourists in 2018 and ever since I was excited to visit this intriguing country. It became country no. 119 on my journey to visit every country in the world when I visited Saudi for the first time in 2021. We are  now in 2024 and I have already visited Saudi 4 times.

As a full time nomadic travel blogger since 2012 I constantly change countries and whenever I start planning my next trip I always figure out what is the best way to stay connected. In the past I always used to buy a prepaid sim card on arrival but nowadays I mostly order an e-sim card on the internet.

Since I love to document all my travel tips you can already find more than 200 sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all over the world: Bahrain, Dubai, Malaysia, IndonesiaJordan, Pakistan, Hong KongEgypt, Europe, USA, Asia, Bangkok, Bali, Brazil, New York, London, Paris, Istanbul, Mexico, Canada and many more.

Traveltomtom also wrote specific guides for buying a prepaid sim card on arrival at Medina Airport, Jeddah Airport and Riyadh Airport as well as a dedicated e-sim card guide for Saudi Arabia.

So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid and e-sim card advice for your next holiday destination. Bookmark me and let me help you save money!

Some links in this article about the best sim card for traveling to Saudi Arabia are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using an affiliate link I earn a small commission. This is at absolutely no extra cost to you of course!

Why buying a sim card for Saudi Arabia

Most important reason is to save money on high roaming charges. Overseas data plans are expensive and they limit your internet speed. Buying a sim card in Saudi Arabia or getting an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia is easy, takes just a couple minutes and gives you a lot of data for a much cheaper price.

Traveling with an active data connection on your phone is just so much more convenient. Think about ordering a taxi through an app like Uber or Careem, getting directions from Google Maps, sending WhatsApp locations, staying in touch with the people back home, dealing with emergencies, etc.

Also keep in mind that public WiFi is not guaranteed everywhere plus these are UNSECURED networks. When using public WiFi the use of a VPN is recommended.

Be aware that for making a Saudi Arabia sim card work on your phone, it needs to be unlocked! If your phone is locked you will need to unlock it before traveling to Saudi Arabia. Contact your home provider if you are not sure. In general phones from the USA tend to be locked, phones from the rest of the world are mostly unlocked. This is also counts for using an international sim card or an e-sim card.

If your phone is locked or swapping sim cards is not preferred than have a look into a so called pocket WiFi. It is not my favorite way of staying connected but it works. Check out my article comparing a local prepaid sim card vs. a portable WiFi device

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends an STC sim card for Saudi Arabia. STC has the most extensive 4G/5G network in Saudi Arabia and actually also the best prepaid sim card deals for tourists in 2024. For around $23 USD you get 20 GB data.

That said, if your phone is e-sim compatible and you only need a little bit of data then simply get yourself an e-sim card. Within a couple clicks you arrange everything on the internet.

Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia via SimOptions or Airalo or check out my comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Saudi Arabia in 2024 including an answer to all FAQ about using e-sim cards.

Another great option is an international travel sim card with data. Check out my comparison of the best international sim cards for traveling in 2024 and you will see some great options for traveling in Saudi Arabia. You can order these travel sim cards directly online. A physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address or you receive an international e-sim in your email.

Best e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia

The easiest way to get data on your phone when traveling to Saudi Arabia in 2024 is an e-sim card. You order online and arrange everything in just a couple clicks. No more visiting a sim card shop and swapping physical sim cards.

You order an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia on the internet, you receive a QR code, scan it, follow the simple steps and within less than 2 minutes you have a Saudi Arabia e-sim card installed on your phone.

Upon arrival in Saudi Arabia it automatically connects you to an available network and you enjoy data on your phone pretty much when the plane lands.

Make sure your phone is e-sim compatible before ordering an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia. For an answer on all your questions about using e-sims check out Traveltomtom's guide with everything you need to know before ordering an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia.

Airalo

airalo esim card plans for saudi arabia 2024

Airalo is a reliable e-sim provider and Traveltomtom has used Airalo in more than 50 countries around the world and never faced an issue. Here are the Airalo e-sim card plans for Saudi Arabia for 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
  • 2 GB data for 15 days = $8.5 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $11 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $16 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $27 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $44 USD
  • 25 GB data for 45 days = $49 USD

Click here for more info or to order an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia via Airalo.

The above e-sim cards from Red Sand are data-only and valid in Saudi only. They operate on the 4G/LTE/5G network of Zain. Yes, these e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia support 5G.

SimOptions

simoptions international esim cards for saudi arabia 2024

SimOptions is another reliable e-sim provider and Traveltomtom has used SimOptions also in multiple countries around the world.

The SimOptions e-sim cards are more expensive than Airalo, but these are international e-sim cards, valid in up to 141 countries around the world. Here are the SimOptions international e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia in 2024:

  • 6 GB data for 15 days = $39.90 USD
  • 10 GB data for 14 days = $39.90 USD

Click here for more info or to order an international e-sim card for Saudi Arabia via SimOptions.

With an e-sim card you keep your own phone number, but make sure your phone is e-sim card ready, all newer smartphones are, but older phones might not be compatible.

Although SimOptions Airalo are Traveltomtom's recommended e-sims for Saudi there is also Nomad, Holafly, Jetpac and many more e-sim providers. Check out Traveltomtom's complete guide and comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Saudi Arabia in 2024.

Mobile internet providers Saudi Arabia

There are 3 main mobile internet operators in Saudi Arabia: Zain, Mobily (Etisalat) and STC (Saudi Telecom Company). On top of that there is also Virgin Mobile, a so called MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) that sells prepaid sim cards for tourists in Saudi Arabia.

The main mobile internet operators have phone stores all across the country in every big city as well as at international airports. Virgin Mobile does not have dedicated phone stores but you can find kiosks around the bigger shopping malls and there are Virgin Megastores.

All mobile internet operators offer e-sim cards as well as physical prepaid sim cards. It is up to you which sim card you choose.

Registration process Saudi Arabia prepaid sim cards

The registration process is pretty standard. Your new Saudi Arabia sim card will be registered under your name and passport number. Always bring your passport when buying a new sim card in Saudi Arabia, they will take a copy of your passport in the store. Also you will have to give your fingerprint for registration as well.

If you feel like the registration process with your fingerprint and your passport is too much then an international sim card for Saudi Arabia or an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia is the perfect solution. These sim cards do not need an ID verification.

Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia via SimOptions or Airalo.

For much more details and info about using e-sim cards check out Traveltomtom's complete guide for the best e-sim cards for traveling to Saudi Arabia in 2024.

Where to buy a sim card for Saudi Arabia

International Airport on arrival

The best place to buy a prepaid sim card in Saudi Arabia is at the international airport on arrival. All international airports in Saudi Arabia have excellent facilities for buying prepaid sim cards for tourists. I have been to Medina, Riyadh and Jeddah Airport and wrote a separate guides and recorded a vlog for every airport.

Click here for an extensive guide including vlog for:

Phone stores city center

The phone stores at the above airports are open 24 hours but if for some reason you may have missed the chance to buy a Saudi Arabia prepaid sim card on arrival you can head to one of the bigger shopping malls and buy your Saudi Arabia sim card there.

All mobile internet operators have phone stores all around the big cities. The best way to located the nearest to your hotel is to search for them on Google Maps. Phone stores from STC, Zain and Mobily are open till late and 7 days a week.

You could potentially also buy a prepaid Saudi Arabia sim card in a random phone store but it is not Traveltomtom's first recommendation. They will have to do the official registration process on behalf of you and if something goes wrong they will send you to an official retail store anyway.

Online

Want to arrive prepared and be online as soon as the plane lands then get yourself a sim card for Saudi Arabia on the internet. There are pre-activated physical prepaid sim cards that you can order via SimOptions that will be delivered to your home address. It is plug and play on arrival.

But if your phone is e-sim compatible then simply order your e-sim card for Saudi Arabia on the internet. It takes just a couple clicks to get connected.

Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia via SimOptions or Airalo.

Check out Traveltomtom's complete guide for the best e-sim cards for traveling to Saudi Arabia in 2024 with a comparison of the prices and detailed info about using e-sim cards when traveling abroad and an answer to all FAQ.

Prices prepaid sim cards in Saudi Arabia in 2024

A great thing about buying a prepaid sim card in Saudi Arabia is that prices for prepaid sim cards are nation wide the exact same. It doesn't matter if you buy a tourist sim card at the airport or a sim card in any store around the country.

All prepaid sim cards in Saudi Arabia are 5G ready and offer max data speed without any limitations.

All info and prices below are updated in June 2024 with the latest info. Prices are in Saudi Riyal: $1 USD = 3.75 SAR and 1 SAR = $0.27 USD.

Mobily

mobily saudi arabia prepaid sim card plans 2024

All the Mobily prepaid sim card deals below are valid for 4 weeks 

  • 5 GB data + 5 GB social media + 600 minutes = 75 SAR - $20 USD
  • 10 GB data + 15 GB Social Media + 1,500 minutes = 110 SAR - $29 USD
  • 20 GB data + unlimited Social Media + 3,000 minutes = 150 SAR - $40 USD
  • 50 GB data + unlimited Social Media + calls = 180 SAR - $48 USD
  • 100 GB data + unlimited Social Media + calls = 220 SAR - $59 USD
  • Unlimited data + calls = 360 SAR - $96 USD

Mobily also offers a daily unlimited data plan + 50 minutes for 20 SAR - $5.3 USD per day.

For more info check the Mobily website. In Mobily stores it is possible to get an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia at no extra costs.

Zain

zain saudi arabia prepaid sim card plans 2024

  • 3 GB data + 1 GB Snapchat, WhatsApp & Facebook + 50 minutes for 2 weeks = 34.5 SAR - $9 USD
  • 15 GB data for 2 weeks = 57.5 SAR - $15 USD
  • 10 GB data + 5 GB Snapchat, WhatsApp & Facebook + 150 minutes for 4 weeks = 80.5 SAR - 21.45 USD
  • 25 GB data + unlimited Snapchat, WhatsApp & Facebook + 350 minutes for 4 weeks = 149.5 SAR - $40 USD

For more info check the Zain website. Zain also offers an e-sim card as well as physical prepaid sim cards for its prepaid costumers in their stores across Saudi Arabia.

STC

stc saudi arabia prepaid sim card plans 2024

The STC prepaid sim card plans are nationwide the exact same. Every airport, mall, random phone store you are able to buy one of the following STC prepaid sim card plans and data packages:

  • 1 GB data + 1 GB Social Media + 60 minutes = 40.25 SAR - $11 USD
  • 4 GB data + 4 GB Social Media + 120 minutes = 74.75 SAR - $20 USD
  • 10 GB data + 10 GB Social Media + 500 minutes = 86.25 SAR - $23 USD
  • 10 GB data + 15 GB Social Media + 300 minutes = 115 SAR - $31 USD
  • 25 GB data + 25 GB Social Media + 500 minutes = 132.25 SAR - $35.2 USD
  • 70 GB data + unlimited Social Media + 800 minutes = 195.5 SAR - $52 USD
  • 100 GB data + unlimited Social Media + unlimited calls = 276 SAR - $74 USD

For more info check the STC website. STC Saudi Arabia offers prepaid as well as e-sim cards for their prepaid costumers in their stores in Saudi Arabia.

Virgin Mobile

virgin mobile prepaid sim card for saudi arabia

You won't find Virgin Mobile shops at international airports, only in the bigger shopping malls in Riyadh or Jeddah. They operate on the network of STC and they offer the following prepaid sim cards:

  • 2 GB data + 2 GB social media + 100 minutes = 51.75 SAR - $14 USD
  • 20 GB data + 500 minutes = 80.50 SAR - $21 USD
  • 25 GB data + 25 GB social media + 1,500 minutes = 115 SAR - $31 USD
  • 40 GB + unlimited social media + 3,000 minutes = 172.50 SAR- $46 USD
  • 100 GB + unlimited social media + 5,000 minutes = 247.25 SAR- $66 USD

For more information check the Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia website.

Best 4G/5G network in Saudi Arabia in 2024

Before we decide what is the best prepaid sim card for traveling in Saudi Arabia in 2024 let’s also have a look at the 4G/5G network coverage maps from Saudi Arabia. Traveltomtom compared the 4G/5G network coverage maps of STC, Zain and Mobily to decide which mobile internet operators has the best 4G/5G network in Saudi Arabia in 2024.

Is there 5G in Saudi Arabia?

Yes, there is 5G in Saudi Arabia and it is wide spread. When traveling in Saudi Arabia tourists will find a 5G signal in pretty much every tourist destination in Saudi. There are uncountable cool places to visit in Saudi and the mobile internet providers did a great job providing 5G in all these places.

When visiting places like Mecca, Medina, Riyadh, Jeddah, Alula, etc. you will guaranteed be connected with 5G. From my own experience I can tell you mobile data speed in Saudi is FAST.

Zain 4G/5G network coverage map

zain 4g 5g network coverage map saudi arabia 2024

Mobily 4G/5G network coverage map

mobily 4g 5g network coverage map saudi arabia 2024

STC 4G/5G network coverage map

stc 4g 5g network coverage map saudi arabia 2024

Although the above mobile data network coverage maps are updated for 2024 they are not 100% accurate. However, they are a great reference to compare the 4G/5G networks of the mobile internet providers in Saudi Arabia in 2024.

It is no secret that for traveling around Saudi Arabia, especially those who are discovering the country by car, an STC sim card is the most recommend tourist sim card.

STC has by far the best 4G/5G network in Saudi Arabia in 2024. However if you just stick to the cities, all three providers offer 5G in Riyadh, Medina, Jeddah, Mecca, AlUla, etc.

Best prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia in 2024

Prices for prepaid sim card plans in Saudi Arabia start from $9.2 USD. Zain has the cheapest prepaid sim card plan for tourists with 3 GB data for 34.5 SAR.

This makes and e-sim card for Saudi Arabia the cheapest way to stay connected in 2024, because Saudi Arabia e-sim card plans start from just $5 USD.

Traveltomtom is an advocate for using e-sim cards when traveling abroad. They are very convenient and simple to use. However, fact is that e-sim cards for Saudi Arabia are more expensive than local prepaid sim cards.

That said, e-sim cards are so easy to get that I often happily pay the higher price. Plus you are online as soon as the plane touches the ground and you don't need to buy a sim card on arrival in Saudi Arabia.

Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia via SimOptions or Airalo.

For much more details and info about using e-sim cards check out Traveltomtom's comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Saudi Arabia.

But if you compare an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia with 10 GB to a local prepaid sim card then Traveltomtom comes to the simple conclusion that a local prepaid sim card is cheaper. For those that use a lot of data while traveling to Saudi it is recommended to buy a prepaid sim card on arrival in Saudi Arabia.

A data-only e-sim card for Saudi Arabia with 10 GB data cost $26 USD on the internet, but a local prepaid sim card from STC gives you 10 GB data + 10 GB social media + 500 minutes for just $23 USD.

The downside is that you can only buy this prepaid sim card plan on arrival in Saudi Arabia in person in an STC store.

After comparing the prices for prepaid sim cards and the 4G/5G network coverage across the country Traveltomtom comes to an easy conclusion that STC is the best prepaid sim card in Saudi Arabia in 2024.

In Traveltomtom's YouTube video above you can see what it is like to buy a prepaid sim card in Saudi Arabia.

Order a prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia online

orange holiday world international prepaid sim card for saudi arabia

If your phone is not e-sim compatible and buying a prepaid sim card on arrival in Saudi Arabia sounds like too much hassle then I have a solution for you.

Arrive prepared in Saudi Arabia with an international prepaid sim card. You order them online and a physical prepaid sim card will be delivered to your home address. You put this sim card in your phone and it automatically connects to an available network upon arrival in Saudi Arabia, basically when the plane lands you are instantly online.

SimOptions is the only sim card provider that sells physical prepaid sim cards for Saudi Arabia:

  • 10 GB data for 14 days = $49.90 USD

Click here for more info or to order an international prepaid sim card for Saudi Arabia via SimOptions.

A last reminder that if your phone is e-sim compatible then you can arrange everything directly on the internet by ordering an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia. You can already find Saudi Arabia e-sim cards starting from $5 USD.

Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia via SimOptions or Airalo.

For much more details and info about using e-sim cards check out Traveltomtom's complete guide with everything you need to know before ordering an e-sim card for Saudi Arabia

I hope the above tips and tricks for staying connected when traveling to Saudi Arabia were helpful for your upcoming trip. If you have any questions then please leave me a comment below.

Want to be fuelled by wanderlust then check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow my road to visit every country in the world.

On my YouTube channel you will also find a video about how to travel by high speed train from Jeddah to Medina. As of June 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries so many more to come.

Enjoy your trip to Saudi Arabia!